How to Move with Toddlers

October 06 2014

Know that your toddlers will get very tired of baby carrots and Cheerios and you will get very tired, period. It’s part and parcel of moving from one area of the earth to another, even if it’s only across town, especially when you’ve got little charges running around or in diapers.

Being that this home is most likely the only home your children have known, they’ll have feelings about leaving it, just like you do.

Here’s how to talk to them about the Big Moving Day and make your family’s transition as smooth as possible:

  • Give him his own moving box. He’s two? A two-year-old will fully enjoy tossing in (and taking out) his stuffed animals. It’s true that packing with young children can be an exercise in patience and is a great reason to hire a move manager, but to help your little one understand that he and his things won’t be living at this home anymore, let him pack up his treasures. Sure, the box will be messy but it’ll be great for him to unpack. If you’re moving the next day, pull out the packing tape and have him put some pieces on the box. Say “see you soon” to the toys and make it fun. But really, having his own box will give him some much-needed control over a situation that is beyond his little reach. Let him know that he can unpack it all by himself at the new home. Together, write his name on the box and let him decorate it with some fun moving van stickers. Another good reason for him to pack a box: If a toddler sees mommy throw toys into a box, he may get the impression you’re throwing them out… Best to explain even the obvious points of the moving process.
  • Try to give your child as much information as possible, but keep your information clear and simple. He’ll like to think about his new house and new room, so give him some time to explore it, if you can. Explain that he’ll be using the same dishes and cups and toothbrush and toothpaste and socks. Tell him when you’re moving: Mark it on the family calendar with a smiley face.
  • He may have a negative reaction about not sleeping in his room anymore. That’s okay. Change is scary for any age. Keep involving him in little ways in the process and offer positive aspects. Is there a super cool playground near your new home? If you’re moving far away, go online to see what you can learn about the community. Is there a place that sells ice cream? A zoo??
  • Are you moving around the time your older toddler should be potty training? Hold off. He’ll need to get accustomed to the new home first. If your toddler wants a new bed, or you want him in a new bed, also hold off. He’ll need time to adjust.
  • Arrange for your toddler or preschooler to stay with a babysitter or relative on moving day.
  • Once in your new home, try to create a familiar space in the kitchen and at the meal table right away. Point out familiar comforts, like photos, certain magnets on the fridge, and spend five minutes on the floor of his new room to unpack that box together.




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